The flu season is hard upon us — tragically, in some cases — and we can stand by for feverish news coverage of the epidemic.
It’s important to get a flu shot, the experts say, but why isn’t there more mention of the one thing that can stop the spread of flu in its tracks: Staying home?
This is America, of course, and we’re all about showing the bosses that we can “suck it up” and work when we’re sick; that’s how you get ahead in the workplace, the theory goes.
But by doing so, we’re infecting everyone else in the office, who will get sick and, maybe, miss work, and make things tougher on managers to get the workload covered.
School children get awards for perfect attendance, but maybe there should be awards for kids whose parents are responsible enough to keep them home when sick.
It’s an endless cycle that invariably makes the flu season much worse than it needs to be.
Why do we do it? It’s a cultural thing.
On Twitter this morning I raised the issue and found several fascinating perspectives.
— Amy Stubblefield (@amylstubbs) January 9, 2013
But, do people who come to work sick really get ahead? How does it work in your office?
@mylittlebloggie But I’ve definitely gone to work sick, too. One’s easily made to feel guilty for wanting to stay or go home.
— Jodi Trotta (@pinswithfury) January 9, 2013
I recommend sneezing in the face of people who would make you feel guilty for staying home when sick.
@mylittlebloggie Exactly. I blame PTO. People go in sick to avoid losing later vacation/sick days.
— Jon Tevlin (@Jontevlin) January 9, 2013
PTO is one of the worst concepts ever to hit the American workplace. Under it, you are given additional money in your paycheck each week which you can use later to either (a) cash in to stay home when sick or (b) cash in to take vacation. Feeling a little stuffy today? Why should you spend vacation time? The goal of this policy is clear: To get people to not take sick days.
Get a flu shot, wash your hands regularly, and remind your boss today to change the culture of the American workplace.
And if that doesn’t work, use this new Facebook app, and resort to some public shaming.
If you don’t have the flu, it’ll scan your Facebook timeline to identify the people you know who might give you the flu, most of whom will probably be work colleagues and spouses.
Oh, by the way, this memo came out in my company today:
What should you do if you get sick?
You should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.